The Lada Niva Legend review proves that ancient technology has its merits


Together with normal cars, Carwow has started reviewing some extreme models lately – like the Bugatti Chiron SuperSport. At the other extreme, Matt Watson decided it would be interesting to review the Lada Niva Legend, which despite being developed in the 1970s, is still available for sale today.

Before moving on to the actual review, let us say that the asking price of £ 17,595 ($ 23,762) in the UK market is too high considering the base price in Russia is just ₽ 659,900 ($ 9,317), while at a sensible ₽ 984,900 ($ 13,906) you can get the off-road-focused Lada Niva flagship Bronto Prestigious.

In terms of styling, the Lada Niva Legend hasn’t changed much since 1977. The most notable update among the many restorations came in 2014 when the Urban trim was redesigned and integrated the bumpers although other variants have kept the traditional styling. . The 2020 update focused on the interior, although there isn’t much that can be done with such an old vehicle as a basis, a fact that also raises safety concerns.

Watson says that despite being old-fashioned with ancient technology and hard, scratchy plastic, the cabin is well assembled. The Luxe version he reviewed comes with features like power windows, air conditioning, heated front seats, and a stereo system.As you’d expect, rear seat space is cramped (although a longer five-door variant is available) while the trunk has a capacity of 265 liters (9.4 cubic feet) which is what you get from city cars today.

See also: Now you can convert your Lada Niva into electricity for just € 2,800

Driving the Niva seems to be a much more enjoyable experience than expected thanks to the soft suspension and unibody construction, even if the gearbox feels a bit agricultural, as Matt suggests. Driving on the open road exposes the lackluster performance of the 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 82 hp (61 kW / 83 hp). The video includes a straight-line acceleration test with a 0-60mph (0-96km / h) sprint in 19.09 seconds and the seemingly infinite quarter mile completed in 21.24 seconds.

On B-roads, the steering wheel doesn’t have the precision you need and there’s a noticeable amount of roll, but that’s not what the Niva is designed for. Off-roading is where the old 4 × 4 excels thanks to permanent all-wheel drive with central locking differential and low range.

Watson’s verdict is that most people should probably avoid the Niva legend; However, if extravagant cars are your thing, then it suggests that you should go ahead and buy it. For those who want something more modern, Lada offers the Niva Travel SUV, while the brand new direct successor to the Niva Legend is ready for arrive in 2024.


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